SAG-AFTRA Waits for Studios’ Response to Latest AI Proposals – Deadline

Exclusive: All was quiet on the SAG-AFTRA negotiations front Thursday.

After a flurry of rumors over the past few days that a deal had been reached between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP, today was “more of a waiting game,” according to an insider. After Wednesday’s high-profile debate over AI protections and more, studios have been pretty silent on the 112th day of the actors’ strike.

Although the two sides were expected to speak today, the AMPTP did not respond to the revised AI proposal sent by the union on Wednesday. She also did not respond to what she described as a “comprehensive counter” made by SAG-AFTRA on October 28, we heard. Therefore, no formal talks were held today between the union’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and AMPTP president Carole Lombardini.

However, a week and a half into this latest round of renewed deliberations, sources on both sides remain optimistic and caution against going too far with today’s no-talks. “I’d be worried if they came back to us in a couple of hours, I guess they wouldn’t take it [the proposals] A union source told Deadline. “This is the way things should go if we want to reach a good and fair agreement.”

There’s no word on whether any further talks have been scheduled, though the expectation is that AMPTP will respond “soon,” an industry vet said, which will set the calendar.

On another track, while nothing is final, it appears that both sides may have reached a “comfortable place,” according to a studio source, when it comes to the share of financial revenue flowing to performers, though details remain scarce.

As has become common since the parties resumed talks on October 24 in person and virtually, neither SAG-AFTRA nor AMPTP responded to requests for comment by Deadline today. If that happens, we’ll update this post.


In the streets, the picket line today stopped at Fox and continues at Universal, but union members were marching at Netflix, Sony, Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon. Crabtree-Ireland showed up at Amazon’s Culver City headquarters mid-morning to walk the line a bit.

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With the WGA strike in early May and the SAG-AFTRA picket in mid-July, labor actions are estimated to have cost California’s economy more than $6.5 billion so far as well as 45,000 jobs in the entertainment sector, with many of the jobs lost. Working families don’t see a steady paycheck in six months.

Earlier today, Paramount Global CFO Naveen Chopra said during the company’s earnings call that the financial impact of the strikes on the company amounts to “nearly $60 million in idle costs associated with the strike. These are the additional expenses incurred to maintain production capabilities while the strike is ongoing.” These costs impacted both our television media and film entertainment segments.

On the same call, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish explained the impact of the strikes on the company, adding: “You’ve seen that we recently made some changes to our film slate that were impacted by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. night, but the scripted side of television was still affected by the strike.

“Obviously we are all hoping to get back to work soon,” he added.

Despite being briefed frequently, the Paramount Global chief has not been directly involved in negotiations over the past week.

The Gang of Four’s core CEOs — NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and Disney’s Bob Iger — were involved last week and were not part of the talks in recent days, with Crabtree-Ireland and Lombardini in mind. . It remains to be seen whether CEOs will return to talks at any stage from now on, as they are briefed by their legal teams taking the lead. However, we’re told that Langley, Zaslav, Sarandos and Iger remain on standby for any last-minute meetings and Zoom meetings.

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Studios suffer from anxiety, eager to release blockbuster films and TV productions, especially those films that were stopped in the middle of filming, for example, Deadpool 3 mission impossible 8 And Gladiator 2 Among other things. Although there are only a very few shooting days in the remaining two holiday-filled months of 2023, there is work that can be done that will ensure that some tentpoles reach their theatrical release dates in 2024. Indeed, whatever the footage That the filmmakers have in their hands, they’re in the cutting room, editing, and preparing before the IATSE talks start next year.

One thing is certain, all parties are telling us: the progress the clerks and representatives have made in closing deals will pave the way for next year’s IATSE and Teamsters talks.

Both IATSE and the Teamsters have been frequent and vocal supporters of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, emphasizing union solidarity. From guilds to studios, labels and individuals, everyone is concerned about what AI could mean for them and the industry.

Crabtree-Ireland told Deadline at New York Comic-Con last month that when it comes to artificial intelligence, “the kinds of barriers we’re looking to put around this technology are not dependent on the sophistication of the technology.” He added of SAG-AFTRA’s goals, “The idea that a performer should have the right to have informed consent for the use of their image and likeness in the creation of a digital replica — any performer should have that right with any form of technology including artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence tools.” that was developed for this purpose.

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“So, I think the barriers that we put up around fair compensation, informed consent, are things that can grow with the industry and the state of the technology,” Crabtree-Ireland said.

As much as top talent will be protected, the key for SAG-AFTRA is ensuring that the extras and performers at the bottom of the invitation sheet have the rights to the AI ​​as well as in the contracts with the studios. One specific demand that the union returned to again and again was that the sameness of its members would not be repeated an infinite number of times without due compensation. For now, the basic idea put forward by the guild is that AI will be used and paid on a project-by-project basis to prevent abuse and keep work as a viable career for the vast majority of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members.

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